Let's get this outta the way right up front: the title of today's entry has little to nothing to do with today's movie. It just came out.
Now then. I myself am not a child of divorce. However, I read on the internet that when a parent remarries, children sometimes have difficulty adjusting to/getting along with the new mommy or daddy. OK, I buy that. Children should then turn to Hollywood, with all its collective wisdom, sensitivity, and insight to observe how it deals with this touchy subject. You see, if the new parent is a mommy, she might be something like Julia Roberts- see exhibit A, Stepmom. While I have not in fact seen the movie, I know all I need to know from the trailer: kids don't like New Mom, New Mom's large toothy smile wins kids over, cue singing and dancing and magical musical bonding. Pap, I tells ya...it's PAP! Man, I hate that word. My three least favorite words in the whole world are "pap", "moist", and "slacks". It's purely coincidental that you can easily use them all in the same sentence.
Anyway, where was I? Oh yes. What happens when the new parent is a daddy? Well, he could turn out to be like Terry O'Quinn in 1989's Stepfather 2: Make Room For Daddy. In other words, he could turn out to be a complete psycho who will win your hearts, become a part of your family, and then kill you all! You know, when I think about Julia Roberts movies and her big big smile, a raging Terry O'Quinn doesn't sound half bad. Add Richard Gere to the mix and I'll be handing Terry the knife to save me.
This sequel is (as most sequels are) totally unnecessary. At the end of The Stepfather (1987), O'Quinn's character dies quite convincingly- it coulda been a nice, neat little package. But this is horror, baby, so bring that crazy man back for more! Keep the villain, add some new victims and voila- one big plate of rehash coming up.
Turns out that The Stepfather (he goes through way too many aliases for me to list 'em) got stitched up after the events of the original flick and wound up in the nuthouse. He sticks his "Let's talk about how that makes you feel, Stepfather" shrink with a shiv, kills a guard, takes the uniform, and busts out of the hospital. Assuming the name "Gene Clifford", he leases a house from divorced real estate agent Carol (Meg Foster), who lives across the street with her son Todd (SeaQuest DSV's Jonathan Brandis). If there's one thing the Stepfather loves, its finding a family to set up with.
Eventually Carol agrees to marry Gene, despite the protestations of her pal Matty (Caroline Williams)...who winds up at the short end of a terrycloth bathrobe sash, courtesy of Gene. What's the short end of a sash? I don't know. The point is, he chokes the poor girl with it and strings her up, making it look like a suicide.
Will Carol be able to put 2 and 2 together before Gene goes nutso and kills his new family? You'll just have to check out Stepfather 2 to see! Ha ha!
This is a likable movie, driven by Terry O'Quinn's fab performance as the crazed would-be patriarch. He's particularly fab during his flip-out scenes- he sure can channel some rage. S2 is darkly comic, at times, without descending into the obviousness of, say, Scream. I'm sure one could opine for a while on the movie as allegory for family values this and American family that, but hey- leave it in the school, schooly! This movie is fun, y'hear? I did spend alot of time waiting for Meg Foster to shoot lasers out of her eerie, cyberesque, Kirstie Alley-ish eyes. But then, I always do that during Meg Foster movies...and you know, she never shoots lasers out of her eyes, dammit. That's OK, though, I'll never give up hope...and I'll still give Stepfather 2...7 out of 10 hopped-on pops!